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California's School Finance Reform: An Experiment in Fiscal Federalism

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Author Info

  • Eric J. Brunner

    (Quinnipiac University and University of Connecticut)

  • Jon Sonstelie

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Abstract

The 1971 ruling of the California Supreme Court in the case of Serrano v. Priest initiated a chain of events that abruptly ended local financing of public schools in California. In seven short years, California transformed its school finance system from a decentralized one in which local communities chose how much to spend on their schools to a centralized one in which the state legislature determines the expenditures of every school district. This paper begins by describing California's school finance system before Serrano and the transformation from local to state finance. It then delineates some consequences of that transformation and draws lessons from California's experience with school finance reform.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2006-09.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2006-09

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Phone: (860) 486-4889
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: School Finance Reform; Centralization; Fiscal Federalism;

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References

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  1. Murray, Sheila E & Evans, William N & Schwab, Robert M, 1998. "Education-Finance Reform and the Distribution of Education Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 789-812, September.
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  7. Silva, Fabio & Sonstelie, Jon, 1995. "Did Serrano Cause a Decline in School Spending," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 199-215, June.
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  25. Kenny, Lawrence W., 1982. "Economies of scale in schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, February.
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  29. Downes, Thomas A. & Dye, Richard F. & McGuire, Therese J., 1998. "Do Limits Matter? Evidence on the Effects of Tax Limitations on Student Performance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 401-417, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Brunner, Eric J. & Imazeki, Jennifer, 2008. "Tiebout choice and universal school vouchers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 253-279, January.
  2. Marcelin Joanis, 2009. "Sharing the Blame? Local Electoral Accountability and Centralized School Finance in California," Cahiers de recherche 09-21, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke.
  3. Eric J. Brunner & Jennifer Imazeki, 2006. "Tiebout Choice and the Voucher," Working papers 2006-10, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. William Duncombe & John Yinger, 2011. "Making do: state constraints and local responses in California’s education finance system," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 337-368, June.
  5. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Ethan G. Lewis, 2012. "Cracks in the Melting Pot: Immigration, School Choice, and Segregation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 91-117, August.

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